SECOND-generation businessman Neil Patel has opened a new convenience store in Menston, returning a local shop to the community two years after storm damage closed the last grocery outlet in the area.

Having secured a significant funding package from NatWest and Lombard to fund the purchase and fit out of the property, Mr Patel, owner of Convenience Stores UK (Menston) Ltd, undertook lengthy negotiations and renovations to transform the empty space into the now-thriving Nisa convenience store, securing new jobs for local employees.

He said the store is already serving as a vital retail hub for the area after opening just in time for Christmas last year.

What sets this venture apart is the community-centric approach adopted by Mr Patel.

The local community had been running petitions to secure a convenience store for the village and so, to safeguard the local community from being without a shop in the future, a community protection order has been agreed.

This means that in the event that the store closes permanently, the community is granted a six-month window to raise the market value and potentially acquire ownership, ensuring a lasting and positive impact on the local residents.

Mr Patel, director at Convenience Stores UK (Menston) Ltd, said: “I knew that the local community had been petitioning for a store in the village for over two years and so I’m delighted to have opened here in Menston.

“We have tailored our range to meet the needs of the local community with a wide range of everyday products in addition to ranges such as zero waste, food-to-go and high quality frozen ready meals in partnership with Cook.”

“Having grown up around my father’s convenience stores, I understand the importance of easy access to quality groceries for the local community.

“I’m especially proud that the protection order reflects our commitment to the long-term wellbeing of the community.”

Mark Forsyth, commercial relationship manager at NatWest, said: “We’ve been delighted to work with Neil to secure the finance needed to take the business forward and it’s great to see the new Nisa convenience store open in Menston after such a lengthy period without this essential community asset.”

The store held a grand reopening in December and is now open between the hours of 7am and 10pm, providing local residents with a renewed opportunity to shop local.